City to re-examine old regulations that provide 5-year tax exemptions for renovation projects

All Season Motorsports and Northern Stone applied for the five-year tax exemption after the renovation of their premises. All Season Motorsports said they added more than $ 45,000, the minimum requirement of the regulation, by building an expansion of their business from approximately 4,800 square feet to more than 10,000 square feet. The remodel increased the value of the building from approximately $ 672,000 to $ 873,000. Northern Stone increased its Main Avenue store from about $ 300,000 to $ 500,000.

City surveyor Nick Lee said the companies applied for and qualified the exemptions based on a policy that is not applied regularly: the city offers a five-year tax issue for commercial building improvements that add $ 45,000 in property value and housing improvements that add $ 45,000 in value Value Increase the value of a home by $ 25,000 or more.

The two motions were removed from previous approval agendas by the Commission after Mayor Bernie Dardis asked for more information on the guidelines.

“There is absolutely no reflection on these individual companies,” said Dardis. “It was one of those ordinances that was buried deeply.”

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City administrator Tina Fisk said the $ 45,000 threshold was actually lowered from $ 50,000 in 2013 after Jake Lauritsen, a current board member of West Fargo Parks, requested the threshold change after adding a value of $ 45,000 to his financial business location .

On Monday, Commissioner Mandy George said she supported the exemptions as the projects would be remodeled rather than the city offering tax incentives for new buildings.

“I’d rather see remodeling to keep older buildings and keep them beautiful,” she said. “I would be open to review (regulation). But these people have been told that these are our guidelines, so I would be personally open to approving these requests.”

Commissioner Eric Gjerdevig, who approved the applications for Northern Stone and All Season Motorsports, also requested a moratorium on approving future applications to give the city time to review and possibly amend the current regulation.

“There is a lot of room for improvement,” said Gjerdevig. “I don’t understand the limitless limit. For me, it’s in the incentive category and it should be a discussion.”

“The commission can change the rules if it wants,” said prosecutor Jon Shockley. “My advice would be that the applications were submitted for approval under the old guidelines.”

The Commission unanimously approved the motions and the moratorium on future motions, which will remain in force pending the revision of the regulation.

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